ON May 12, The Times published an Op-Ed article by Edward N. Luttwak, a military historian, who argued that any hopes that a President Barack Obama might improve relations with the Muslim world were unrealistic because Muslims would be “horrified” once they learned that Obama had abandoned the Islam of his father and embraced Christianity as a young adult.
Under “Muslim law as it is universally understood,” Luttwak wrote, Obama was born a Muslim, and his “conversion” to Christianity was an act of apostasy, a capital offense and “the worst of all crimes that a Muslim can commit.” While no Muslim country would be likely to prosecute him, Luttwak said, a state visit to such a nation would present serious security challenges “because the very act of protecting him would be sinful for Islamic security guards.”
At a time when fears about Obama’s security keep bubbling to the surface and an online whispering campaign suggests that he is secretly a Muslim — call him by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama, some Times readers demand — the Luttwak thesis was a double whammy: Obama cannot escape his Muslim history, and a lot of Muslims might want to kill him for trying.
Obama was born in Hawaii to a mother from Kansas with Christian roots and a Kenyan father whose own father had converted to Islam. When Obama was a toddler, his father left the family. His mother later married an Indonesian Muslim, and Obama spent five years in Jakarta, where he attended Catholic and Muslim schools and, according to The Los Angeles Times, was enrolled in the third and fourth grades as a Muslim.
Luttwak wrote that given those facts, Obama was a Muslim and his mother’s Christian background was irrelevant. But Sherman A. Jackson, a professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at the University of Michigan, cited an ancient Islamic jurist, Ibn al-Qasim, who said, “If you divorce a Christian woman and ignore your child from her to the point that the child grows up to be a Christian, the child is to be left,” meaning left to make his own choice. Jackson said that there was not total agreement among Islamic jurists on the point, but Luttwak’s assertion to the contrary was wrong.
Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, a professor of law at Emory University, said that Sharia, or Islamic law, including the law of apostasy, does not apply to an American or anyone outside the Muslim world. Of the more than 40 countries where Muslims are the majority, he said, Sharia is the official legal system only in Saudi Arabia and Iran, and even there apostasy is unevenly prosecuted, and apostates often wind up in prison, not executed.
Several of the scholars agreed that, in classical Sharia, apostasy is a capital crime, but they said that Islamic thinking is evolving. Mahmoud Ayoub, a professor of Islamic studies and comparative religion at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif., said, “Whether (apostasy) is punishable by death or not, there are different opinions.” CLARK HOYT in nytimes.com, June 1
For example, in Iran in 1994 the intervention of Pope John Paul II and others won a Christian convert a last-minute reprieve, but the man was abducted and killed shortly after his release. Likewise, in 2006 in Afghanistan, a Christian convert had to be declared insane to prevent his execution, and he was still forced to flee to Italy. EDWARD N. LUTTWAK, idem, May 12
Como Obama abandonou a religião do seu pai, que foi aparentemente a sua primeira religião, o islamismo, para abraçar o cristianismo, pode vir a ser um alvo a abater pelos radicais islâmicos. Visitas de Estado a países islâmicos podem tornar-se num pesadelo para Obama e para os EUA. Ao mesmo tempo já o começam chamar pelo nome completo: Barack Hussein Obama. A polémica passou para o nível teológico mas a dúvida fica pois, dependendo das várias interpretações do Corão, Obama pode ser, ou não ser, um traidor ao Islão. Além disso existe também a polémica, teológica, se os apóstatas devem ou não ser assassinados, mas o povo, o "bom povo islâmico", esse não hesita e mata sempre. Da mesma forma que mata à pedrada as mulheres "impuras"... Mas Clinton, pelo que tenho lido, nem com esta parece safar-se...
Junta militar birmanesa continua a dificultar ajuda
Gates Accuses Myanmar of ‘Criminal Neglect’
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said that four navy ships waiting to deliver aid would probably be withdrawn soon. In nytimes.com, June 1, 3:00 PM